Paul Rodgers: proving himself as the greatest blues-rock voice on the planet since he first stepped out with Free in 1968, and all these years later he still sounds fantastic at the age of 73 – forthcoming new solo album Midnight Rose is a wonderful reminder of that. So what's the secret?
We were lucky enough to talk with Paul recently for a wide-ranging interview and he told us.
"Clean living is what it is now, that's for sure," he tells us. But that certainly wasn't always the case. "In the early days I was like every young guy I suppose – fairly abusive to my system. And I've learned that it doesn't really work if you want you know if you want to keep singing, and also I keep doing shows – I keep using the voice. I don't let it go to sleep, which it would if you stop singing. So I try not to overdo it.
But there's something else Paul does that all you vocalists can try.
"Also I do, what I tend to find is helpful is gargling a little bit of salt water – just body temperature water. Just a half teaspoon of salt, swirl it around and gargling that. It's very good for the throat."
There – you heard it from the master himself. But you're going to need to do a bit more than that before you sing onstage; long before in some cases. And it's at this point that we're reminded of Paul's ongoing dedication to his craft, and his audience.
"I should mention as well about warming up, because I hear it a lot in the corridors backstage you know – a lot of singers will warm up by going [screams] 'Yeah , yeah, yeah' and screaming. But you wouldn't want to do that to a car engine, would you? You wouldn't sit there [revving a car hard]. And you don't really do that to a human voice – you just sort of warm up [sings softely] you warm up your voice like that.
"I take it to different levels," Paul explains. "Before a tour I will warm up for weeks before. I'll play a bit of acoustic and then we get into a soundcheck I'll step it up a little bit, but not too much because you really want to save it for the show. But I step it up a little bit and then the first night I kind of do hit it and then the next night you'll feel that, 'Oh god I sang [hard]' so you've got to take you've got to manage it as you go along."
Look out for our full interview with Paul Rodgers soon. His new solo album Midnight Rose is out on Sun Records on 22 September. More info at paulrodgers.com